Billy Graham Admitted to Hospital

( [email protected] ) Aug 20, 2007 12:35 PM EDT
Evangelist Billy Graham was hospitalized early Saturday for evaluation and treatment of intestinal bleeding.
Billy Graham, left, reaches out to former President Jimmy Carter as Bill Clinton, far right looks on during the dedication for the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 31, 2007. (Photo: AP Images / Chuck Burton, File)

Evangelist Billy Graham was hospitalized early Saturday for evaluation and treatment of intestinal bleeding.

He was admitted to the Mission Health and Hospitals in Asheville, N.C., near his home and his condition had stabilized over the hours following admission and treatment, said hospital spokesman Merrel Gregory.

"The bleeding is not continuing," said Graham's spokesman, Larry Ross, according to The Associated Press. "It stopped as quickly as it began."

Graham, 88, experienced similar intestinal bleeding during a 1995 crusade in Toronto, Ross said, and doctors say his condition did not appear to be life-threatening.

The latest news on the world renowned evangelist comes shortly after his appearance on the most recent cover of Time magazine – his fourth since 1954, when he was called the "best-known, most talked about Christian leader in the world today, barring the Pope." Graham is also the subject of a newly released book The Preacher and the Presidents.

He was a friend to every U.S. president since Harry Truman and every one of them "found both a need and a use for this one man," according to the authors, Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. No one else had done the same.

"He was every bit famous as they were," said Gibbs on ABC News. It was "publicly and politically very valuable to be seen with one of the most admired religious leaders in the world."

Now, after preaching to over 210 million people in over 185 countries, including America's past 11 presidents, Graham looks back and says, "I feel even more unqualified - to think I sat there and talked to the President of the United States.

“I can only explain that God was planning it in some ways, but I didn't understand it," the retired evangelist told Gibbs and Duffy.

Suffering from Parkinson's disease and age-related macular degeneration among other ailments, Graham largely stays in his home in Montreat, N.C., engaging in daily devotions and praying for whoever is sitting in the Oval Office. Although he finds himself almost overwhelmed when thinking about his late wife, Graham told the authors that he's thinking of fixing up the house or writing another book.

"Over the years I've seen people lose a spouse and then withdraw and lose interest in life," he said, "and I believe we need to resist that."

Graham's wife, Ruth, died in June at the age of 87. She was buried at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the Prayer Garden at the newly opened Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., where the renowned evangelist will also be laid to rest.

"The Bible says the Lord has prepared a place for us and I know He has prepared a home for her – I hope she saves a room for me," Graham had said of his wife, according to AP.